Virtual Reality Systems for Local Government

Local government uses of VR/AR technology are centered on emergency/first responder training and public interaction and have varied applications in service.

Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality

Prepared By: Ben Williams

Executive Summary 

The findings below include primarily focus on virtual reality (VR) examples. In my research, however, I found that the applicability of augmented reality (AR) in training situations provides meaningful and advanced alternatives to VR as a way to improve training success. 

Local government uses of VR/AR technology centered on emergency/first responder training and public interaction, but the applications varied. Situations included practice locating critical supplies in a medical bus and training on wastewater treatment job functions. Law enforcement uses included responding to an active shooter and de-escalation in uncommon scenarios.  

Research Findings by System 

Multiple Interaction Learning Option Range Pro (MILO) system [VR] 

  • Pima County AZ Sherriff’s Office has implemented a 300-degree version of the MILO system to train officers on possible scenarios. While in simulation training, deputies are watched closely for their level of force, communication skills, stance and situational awareness  

Oculus Go goggles [VR] 

  • Racine County Sheriff’s Office (10/2020) demonstrated Oculus Go goggle possibilities for training Officers in difficult and uncommon scenarios. Instances include a schizophrenic individual, an individual with autism and an individual threatening to commit suicide. The goggles allow the officer multiple views of the same scenario, including through the eyes of the individual.  

Microsoft HoloLens [AR] 

  • King County, WA (12/2018) partnered with Microsoft to test/develop the HoloLens augmented reality (AR) goggles in treating wastewater. The demonstrated uses of the HoloLens in field training for water treatment specialists seemed applicable across many fields. 

Augmented Training Systems (AWS) [VR] 

  • City of Austin, TX partnered with AWS to create an EMS Ambulance Bus training. The videos demonstrate similar training simulations to the Microsoft HoloLens, but in a completely virtual setting. It also allows leaders to track and analyze training and improvement of staff. The training boasts the following statistics: 

  • Memory recall improved by 45% 

  • Faster on task by 29% 

  • 90% reduction in cost 

  • Increased confidence by 82% 

Other Findings 

Other uses include supporting and interacting with the public and promoting public engagement in city/county services.  

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